Sunday, April 20th
Sunday exploded into being with temperatures at their highest, hitting the upper 90s. New Orleans greats Trombone Shorty and Preservation Hall Jazz Band started the day off right and got people dancing at the Coachella Stage and Mojave Tent respectively.
Bombino (Omara Moctar) from Agadez, Niger, was up next on the Gobi Tent stage. The guitarist and his band sing in the Tuareg language of Tamashek, and many of their lyrics address the social and political concerns of the historically nomadic Tuareg people. Bombino has worked with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, who produced the former’s second international album Nomad. His guitar work is a sight to behold, deftly displaying his talent while smiling and dancing. During their soundcheck beforehand, a woman in the front row called out to them in Tamashek and held up a gold necklace with a symbol on it. Bombino was pleased and responded with a few words.
Third-wave ska punkers Fishbone were unfettered by the afternoon heat, commanding circle pits and blasting away on their horns and saxophones. It was a small crowd for the main stage but people were skanking and having a great time. The band couldn’t get enough of the sun, as singer Angelo Moore joked, “Since the sun is shining on your head, we’re gonna pile some more on there, ’til there’s so much on your head, you’re smiling and feeling good about your situation. C’mon, aren’t you happy you’re out in the sun?” The band blasted into “Everyday Sunshine,” and everyone sang along, including one of the security guards keeping an eye on the pit. The singer crowd surfed for awhile, and before the next song he laughed, “Kick that s*** for these goddamn young-ass kids.” The energy in the crowd was so good, and the band fed off of it and played a great set. Towards the end of the set they played their cover of Sublime‘s “Date Rape,” and people went nuts.
Next up was Melbourne’s Courtney Barnett, who I highlight in my Top Ten Moments post. Then it was LA’s Classixx, a catchy electronic band with a great mix of live and sampled instruments. Michael David and Tyler Blake performed across from each other on keyboards, bass, and percussion, with a TV monitor set up in between them flashing digital visuals of roads and patterns along with their band logos. The duo brought out various guest singers for their original tracks, then guest stars YACHT came out for their song “Psychic City.”
Later in the evening I caught Neutral Milk Hotel and Lana Del Rey, who’s fantastic sets I discuss in my Top Ten Moments, unfortunately couldn’t photograph Beck, and wrapped up the night with Disclosure and the Lucent Dossier Experience.
Brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence make up Disclosure, an English electronic duo taking the dance music scene by storm. Their debut album Settle (2013) is made up of one infectious dance jam after another, including “When a Fire Starts to Burn,” “Latch,” “F for You,” and “You & Me.” Their set Sunday night at the Outdoor Stage was a party, and a few people in the front row had been standing there for hours to get to dance up close. The end of their third song was a particular treat, as I walked out of the photo pit and right past Andre 3000. The Outkast star was smiling and enjoying their set, a great end to an epic weekend.
The final foot pain of the weekend set in as I wandered past headliners Arcade Fire (who I also could not photograph), listened to a few lines of “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” off of their 2010 release The Suburbs, and caught the end of English heavy metal rockers Motörhead at the Mojave Stage.
The final and most visually stunning set of my Coachella 2014 weekend was the Lucent Dossier Experience at the Gobi Tent. Celebrating their tenth year at Coachella, this group performs live original electronic music along with a plethora of performance art, including aerial arts, dance, and circus acts. The group usually performs at the “Do LaB,” a side stage for music and dance which has historically sat in the dead center of the polo fields, but gained their own dedicated and larger stage nearer the entrance this year. The group is renowned for its innovate and magical costumes, as well as the sheer size and scope of their shows. Their show Sunday night was mesmerizing, including everything from dancers rising up out of cocoons on chains and breaking free, to four performers climbing and dancing on a giant star rotating above the stage. The group is planning a North American summer tour, so stay tuned and be sure to check them out soon.